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Slashdot: Obscurity as Security

Aug 17, 1999, 14:38 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matthew Priestley)

"Matthew Priestley has taken a break from slaving for the man to write us a piece where he takes on the convential wisdom that Security through Obscurity isn't secure at all, and tries to argue that sometimes it is."

"With the popularity of the open-source mindset, a general contempt has drizzled upon all forms of obscurity. The concept of security through obscurity (STO) in particu lar has been decimated. Security through obscurity, which relies on the ignorance of attackers rather than the strength of defenders, is dead in all but practic e. The victory of the opposing full disclosure approach is so complete that proposed ta ctics die at the mere hint they are a form of STO."

"This paper suggests security through obscurity can and does work in certain strictly limited ways, and should not be eliminated unthinkingly from the admin's arsenal. It further implies that the boundaries between STO and 'real' security are blurry and deserve evaluation. However, this paper in no way proposes obscurity as a method for keeping secrets in the long term."

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